Saturday, September 12, 2009

A testimony

Would you believe me if I told you I got all of this for $13.57, plus got an $8.50 coupon off of my next purchase?

If you can't see it, this is 2 boxes of cereal, 5 boxes of granola bars, 5 packages of yogurt, 2 cans of biscuits, 1 juice, 1 loaf of bread, 13 candles, 1 cake mix, and 2 packages of baby wipes.
My total savings was $85.24
This is $100 worth of product.
I used $59.87 in manufacturer coupons

I think I can speak for most people when I say that the past year has not been easy.

We have had to evaluate and reevaluate every aspect of our finances and investments.

This time last year we implemented a budget on household purchases including groceries, household items and clothes. Our food budget was set at a measly (at least that is what I thought) $60 per week. At first I was agasted that Josh would even dare to mention such a cut back. We were spending over $160 per week on food and groceries for a family of three. I did not see a problem with that number, but as times grew worse we knew a budget was absolutely necessary.

I begrudgingly went along with the budget and spent the first couple of months attempting to coupon and hit sales. I negotiated with Josh and adjusted the budget to $80 per week for groceries. SCORE!

It wasn't until March of this year that I discovered the vast array of coupon blogs found on the Internet. A couple of my mom friends and I were inspired to start couponing. These blogs pointed out the best sales at my local stores and told me where to use what coupon on what item, etc.

Fast forward to this year and our pantry, kitchen cabinets,linen closet, and laundry room are busting at the seams with all of my great finds and deals. With couponing (yes, its an art form) I have been able to save my family thousands of dollars and have spent way less then ever before. I am well stocked on many items. I have over a year supply of laundry detergent, razors, shampoo, deodorant, paper plates, etc. Any grocery item purchased in my house was bought at rock bottom rates. Most items were purchased nearly free or less then a dollar, hence how i was able to stock up. And all of the items I buy are name brand b/c I have learned to get them cheaper then store brands. In a short year I have gone from overspending and not having much to show for it to having so much that we have been able to donate food time and time again.

Because of couponing and being frugal I am happy to announce that I have been able to cut our food and grocery budget down to $50 per week. With that $50 I probably average buying at least $300 worth of food per week. We are able to have splurge items (with coupons of course) and have been able to build a nice stockpile of items. Let's just say I don't need to buy spaghetti sauce or cake mix for a long long while. Even cashiers at the store recognize me now and know I mean business when I come in with my big binder full of coupons neatly arranged in trading card sleeves.
I get so excited for my deals and so does Josh. When I go shopping I sometimes will take pictures of my great deals and send them to Josh at work. His coworkers are so amazed as well and are always saying that I need to teach their wives how to do this too!

Which, hopefully soon, I plan on teaching my friends and family how to coupon successfully through classes and such. So if you are interested or know anyone who is interested in learning how to coupon please let me know. All I ask in return is an optional small monetary donation (what you can afford) to my couponing cause of buying groceries for the families of a local low income daycare. My goal is to provide these families a great start to the holiday season with food and groceries to serve their families for meals. A lot of these families are going to the food bank and coming back empty handed. I want to help them out as best as I can. Times are tight for everyone, but with couponing and deal hunting we are able to help one another out.

In closing, couponing has taught me the value of Money. "A penny saved is a penny earned". Every time I save money I am able to apply it to other sales. Last year I would have thought nothing of dropping $4 on a latte or mocha, but now I think twice before doing that. $4 is a lot of money and can also buy me a lot of items. I can tell you right now that for $4.50 I can buy 8 jars of Ragu sauce and 4 Wishbone salad dressings at Fred Meyer with a promo they are putting on. Pair that promo with coupons and voila! you have some serious savings!

Here are some examples of my most recent shopping trips and prices.

-The only thing I actually had to pay for here was part of the deodorants.

-Plus I got a $10 coupon to use on my next purchase at Albertson's.
-Plus I get $10 back in Kellogg's rebate that I mailed in!